August 4th, 2009


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Discussion (47)¬

  1. kwake says:

    diggin shadowchilds new do

  2. Zamael says:

    I wish I was a kid again.

  3. NigaiAmai Yume says:

    Every moment of existence destroys everything that came before it.
    So it’s par for the course, Shadow. Sorry.
    That being said, take what help you can while it is offered.
    And keep chasing the butterflies. There is always a purpose to chasing the butterflies.

  4. Tris says:

    ‘Growing up hurts’

    …it’s my birthday today. I keep thinking how much it sucks in comparison to all my other birthdays ever.
    I feel too old for 19.

  5. nzPhreadde says:

    Yeah, growing up seems to always hurt, particularly when it is someone one cares about – tomorrow is my youngest daughters 21st and I can feel the pain she is going through at this time…

  6. Des says:

    Yeah for the person whose birthday it is on the 4th Mine was on the 3rd. I know how you feel and I know how Shadow feels.

  7. KBF says:

    It always creeps me out how people keep talking to Shadowchild in these comments. Usually they aren’t even joking around…

    I think this strip is going to make my head explode when I feel the inevitable urge to read these comments tomorrow.

  8. H says:

    I don’t know what you guys are on about. I hated being a kid, dependent and without a voice, and couldn’t wait to get older and have responsibilities and a life of my own. You’ll find something to enjoy, SC!

  9. Niall says:

    Last panel: AUUUUGH! Ursula’s getting really bad (read: good) at these final panel cliffhangers…

    Yeah, growing up hurts, the loss of innocence is irreversible. But the new knowledge is always a chance to make things better for others. SC seems headed towards that path.

  10. Paul says:

    Shadowchild growing up is cool. But imagine how he will feel when he realizes that “growing up” is a never ending process, and it never stops hurting? The rewards are more than worth the pain of course, but still, they hurt. Ah, if only we all had a Wombat to guide us. πŸ™‚

  11. Ketira says:

    I wouldn’t say that the loss of innocence is irreversible –it’s gone from “everyday” to “every once in a while”. (or has no one heard of Jimmy Buffett’s song “I’m Growing Older but Not Up”?)

    I’m with NigaiAmai Yume, SC — cry now, but don’t stay hurt. Go out and find out what new ground you can find with your knowledge –and always accept help when it’s offered (esp. from the Wombat).

  12. smjjames says:

    Shadow is certainly acting like a teen there, or transitioning into adulthood or something.

    I wonder what Shadow meant by “perhaps you have destroyed me”, maybe by not giviing enough knowledge?

  13. justaguy says:

    Sort of. I’d say that if we assume Shadow Child is a demon Digger didn’t exactly give it a very demony upbringing. Digger may have “destroyed” SC by providing a point of view that is against what a demon would normally experience, thus not allowing the demon personalit to form the way it normally would.

  14. ZCam says:

    Perhaps the very nature of demons is so in opposition to what Digger has taught SC that now, in having knowldege from SGV, SC feels incapable of being a real/true/complete demon. Maybe SC will have to be something new, different from any others before, never able to really belong or find anyone like her/him. That’s a lonely thought, indeed, and one I think most of us encounter beginning around age 12, give or take a couple of years. And at regular intervals thereafter as we gain new understandings of who we are in relation to the rest of the world.

    Thank goodness the venn diagram of me overlaps lots of others. Not completely, but enough. So here’s hope that SC has enough overlaps for peace, too.

  15. alondro says:

    That’s not something you want to hear from a demon which could devour your soul at any moment.

    “Maybe you helped me, maybe you destroyed me. Not really sure right now!”

    Sounds like something the Joker would say to Batman… And we all know how that would work out! o_o

  16. Kef says:

    I think what Shadowchild might mean is that Digger destroyed his true nature. He knows he’s a demon now, and he knows how demons are supposed to act. He knows their nature, and realizes that through Diggers guidance he is not like that. So Digger destroyed a part of him, or was it a shadow of him? At least I think that’s what I’m trying to say…
    Ah heck, I’m just guessing!

  17. Stryde says:

    It does, Shadowchild. It does. >:

  18. D.G. says:

    Even if “You may have destroyed me” means Shadow’s ticked off at digger, that’s pretty normal for teenagers. Spending more time than you should with your parents strains everyone quickly.

  19. Sabreur says:

    Big, spiky, snake-like… and I still want to give Shadowchild a hug.

    Or do we just call him “Shadow” now?

  20. Meiczyslaw says:

    Aieee! Shadowteenager!

  21. Cerulean says:


  22. Gramina says:

    Tris – I’m sorry. I don’t know if it’s any comfort, but that was pretty much true for me, too, and things *have* been getting better. *wry* It took long enough – for me – that I don’t know that it’s much comfort, but things have been improving for me every decade. I’m in my forties now, and *really* enjoying most things, even though there’s still a lot of stress in my life; and there is no way on God’s green earth anyone could come up with enough money to *pay* me to go back to my teens. Promise me world peace and a cure for Alzheimer’s, and I’d maybe consider it; but I can’t tell you what my decision would be.

    I hope things get better for you — soon.

  23. Hawksong says:

    I need a shirt for my little sister with Shadow saying that.

    Dangit Ursula you make me go through more hankies…!

    As far as “you may have destroyed me,” I saw that as another reference to the cosmos’ general confusion as to Digger’s influence. Also, when dealing with immortals (be they demons or gods), knowledge can make or break them, and is one of the few things they can succumb to. In many many legends and fantasy genre stories, the immortals die of boredom, of madness from too much knowledge and experience, that kind of thing. Now I don’t think Shadow is going to die from his new knowledge. But yes, it hurts. And now, he almost certainly knows something about how things are going to have to go down. He’s had enough contact with SGV to at least have a hint at what SGV fears – presumably dissolution/death – but what if things get so hairy that Shadow must really, truly, fight SGV? And what if Shadow knows he is likely to have to fight, and likely to perish in order to weaken SGV enough for the rest of the crew to succeed in their task? He has already chosen Digger’s side. He asked her if he was her friend…perhaps expecting to hear that Digger was using him in some manner. That’s the kind of doubt SGV is very good at planting in the minds of its targets.
    Oh, and let me note: Ed was not the first among the hyenas to lose the clan name and become one of the Eaten. He can’t have been, there are too many rules and customs associated with that outcasting. So: are the Cold Servants hyenas that became Eaten? If so, is SGV responsible for their status? In other words is SGV still capable of affecting hyenas in general…? I ask this because Ed, although Eaten, isn’t a Cold Servant…but why is that?
    Things that I think of because it’s early for me…!

  24. Gramina says:

    “You have already helped. Or perhaps you have destroyed me. I do not know.”

    … Or, y’know, both. Digger has given Shadow an experience I bet is very rare for demons — a friend. A trustworthy friend who makes a real effort to do what’s right without seeming to think there’s anything special about that. A living example of decency, in a framework that assumes it’s possible for anybody to be decent.

    So. Help? Yeah. Knowing someone cares about you, knowing someone respects you and wants to be good to you, is absolutely a help.

    And it may have helped Shadow all the way into uniquity — a decent, compassionate demon. *wry* Shades of Bujold. (the great-souled Demon, father of a God.)

  25. motub says:

    Gramina, I’m hanging out on your page. What I’m thinking is that… demons, or humans, or wombats can only teach their young how to be demons, or humans, or wombats like themselves.

    So in a certain sense, anything SGV may have taught, or could teach, Shadow about “what a demon is”– beyond base physical capabilities– is invalid, because Shadow is not like SGV (or any other demon), beyond base physical capabilities. And perhaps not even those, to some extent, because if demons really are “born in the black hearts of suns”, then Shadow is different from demons in that respect as well.

    Of course, Shadow can’t know this, or yet fully understand it, but (since it’s finding out that it’s “not normal”) I hope it takes the opportunity to recognize that to a great extent, the judgement of ‘abnormality’ (and therefore the possibility that it has been ‘destroyed’ if we consider ‘destroyed’ to mean, ‘removed any hope to ever be “normal””) is in many ways a complete crock., because the judgement of ‘normality’ mostly only means ‘like us’ (shades of Janet Kagan πŸ™‚ ), and there’s no particular objective positive or negative judgement that applies to being “not like us” (except in the eyes of “us”, whoever they may be– I myself am still looking for them so I can slap their face for making me waste 25 years trying to be like whoever they are).

    At least Shadow has itself confirmed that it’s still itself, just… changing… as it struggles to integrate this new understanding. Which certainly is enough ‘like us’ to reassure me, at least :).

    Ursula…. what can I say? Two lines: “Growing up hurts.” “Yeah. Pretty much for everybody.” Sums up that stage of existence so beautifully and elegantly. I’m so glad that Shadow could say that to his friend (so many teenagers are estranged from trustworthy elders that they can speak freely to), and that his friend knew just what to say (especially since Shadow has no experience, and doesn’t know how it is for “everybody (else)”). Your art is just as eloquent as your writing. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us.

    Tris… Happy Birthday!

    I know you’re not happy right now, but hey. You’ve survived 19 years, and that’s worth celebrating. In addition, I’m happy that you are here on this Earth, and that’s worth celebrating too πŸ™‚ . I’m sure I’m not alone– I don’t care if the only other being happy to know you exist is your cat/dog/hamster/cactus plant; I’m sure that your presence enriches the existence of at least one other being, and that’s not nothing.

    Don’t give up. Time never stops (which is mostly a PITA, but in this case a benefit), and in one day, or one month, or one year, or ten years (you never know), things will change. It’s up to you to be there to tip the balance of that change in your favor (nobody else is going to do it for you, not least because nobody but you knows what “in your favor” really means).

    I’m sure you’ve heard it many times before, but it is true… you’re just a baby, practically (I’m 46, so maybe you can see where I’m coming from with that). You really have the world open to you, in whatever respect you chose to move forward into it, and as a full-fledged adult, you can make those choices under your own authority, rather than having to submit to the choices of others as a ‘minor child’.

    Yes, you will make mistakes. You may make choices that others don’t agree with. You may make choices that turn out not for the best. Or you may get it perfect on the first go. But you’re only 19. If you make a mistake, you’ve got time to change direction and choose again. It’s really hard to paint yourself into a corner at 19 πŸ™‚ .

    So don’t give up. And have a happy birthday! You deserve it πŸ˜€ !

  26. Ozark says:

    So… I’m seriously the only one here who is THRILLED to finally escape the misery that is pre-adulthood? Huh.

  27. Archangel Beth says:

    *pats Ozark* There was a time I didn’t realize how… bad certain things were. Then one day I really, really got the Full Badness of it. And it was Bad. So then there was a stretch of dealing with daily Badness, and then I got out of it (happily, with still enough youth left to enjoy it, heh). But that transition between not really understanding the Badness and realizing how Bad it was… Made the earlier part seem nicer, I think. Ignorance is less stress sometimes. Growing up can hurt.

    *Being* grown up, on the other hand, can have some advantages. Maybe the “Shadowlescent” will be able to move past whatever Full Badness it’s seen and enjoy some of the advantages. I’m glad it still has its earlobes!

  28. AlpineBob says:

    Earlobes? Hmm, maybe. I always assumed those were spiracles or somrthing…

  29. KNO3 says:

    Shadowchild becomes Shasowteen. Huh.

  30. TekServer says:

    > I feel too old for 19.
    Well, Tris, most of what I was going to say has already been said. I can only recommend my own attitude: at 37, I am growing older and have no choice in the matter, but I refuse to grow old or grow up.

    As for the “you may have destroyed me” thing, consider that Digger has given Shadow, by word and example, a firm moral and ethical grounding. It is possible that Shadow, with the knowledge from SGV, is seeing some foreshadowing (I can’t help it; I love using that word when referring to Shadow) of a confrontation down the road where Shadow’s values will force it to sacrifice itself to save Digger and friends (and possibly the world). Despite that, I think the same value system will ensure that Shadow, while simultaneously hurt, angry, afraid, and sorrowful about that knowledge, will still willingly accept its fate because it knows that it’s the right thing to do (greater good and all).
    Suddenly I’m reminded of Jesus approaching his crucifixion with full knowledge of what’s coming and the reasons for it; go figure.


  31. pelican says:

    @Tris … yeah, Gemina’s right … it can and will get much, much better. I hit 40 in a month, and it’s goooood.

    One thing though … all that suffering now … that’s you dealing with your shit, whatever that shit may be … crazy family, not-great neurochemistry, bad life experiences, or, in Shadow’s case, its’ essential nature as a demon … whatever. It hurts so bad now because you’re playing out whatever bad cards you got dealt. You’ve got to deal with all that stuff to grow up anyway- might as well do it sooner rather than later. I’ve seen plenty of eighty year olds who’ve essentially stayed teenagers by trying to avoid the hurt, and their lives have *truly* sucked, and boy, have they ended up contributing to the overall Badness and Suckiness for a lot of other people. But, at nineteen, your life is your own now … all those people and systems who had a say in how you lived up to this point, they’re fading away. It will probably take a few more years, but once you deal with your own essential demons … well, you turn into a bird flying in a clear blue sky, and there’s a great view and a lot of joy.

    Maybe Shadow will get to be a bird too … that’s what it wanted from the start, anyway.

    Immediate story-wise, however, I still think Shadow’s going to have to head out on a quest of its’ own, rather than getting to help Digger with anything other than advice. I think when push comes to shove, Digger’s going to be going up against SGV alone.

  32. Mavericke says:

    @ Pelican: Hear, hear! Wow, I know a lot of people who need to hear that!

    I love the first panel and the pure Shadowchild-y ness of it. Perfectly timed to Digger’s response, and everything. Great work Ursula!

  33. Josh Patel says:

    Every person has a dsire to become a kid again in life. You seem to understand that better than anyone else. You make me remember my childhood.
    Just stumbled and submitted your site to Viralogy. Hope you get some great traffic from it. Your blog is here http://www.viralogy.com/blogs/my/10163

    – Josh

  34. Kayru says:

    I certainly hope he doesn’t grow a resentment towards Digger for anything. Those kind of words to end with make me worry.

  35. inlaid says:

    Poor shadow…

  36. Rissa says:

    In Diane Duane’s novel _Spock’s World_, Dr. McCoy is invited by the Vulcan Council to give a speech to the entire planet, at a sort of serial debate over whether Vulcans want to quit sharing government with all those wacky non-logical other races in the UFP. As part of his persuasion, McCoy references the etymology of the Vulcan native language: “the word for ‘decide’ is descended from older words meaning to kill; options and opportunities die when decisions are made. Be careful what you kill.”

    I see a strong correlation between that general idea — that making a decision is, in essence, to destroy some other branch of “what might’ve been” — and what’s happened to ShadowChild, and what will happen to her again in the future: by deciding to protect the lives of Digger and friends, who tried to teach the meaning and relevance of “evil”, s/he has destroyed any chance of belonging in a society of his peers, of fitting in, of having an easy life suiting the practice of those more experienced and more practiced.

    Possibly the most heroic sort of bravery, that, as it’s a deliberate loss that Shadowchild will sense again and again in her life, through adulthood and beyond; s/he’ll be expected to simply shrug and move on, with little appreciation for the repeated effort unless something truly extraordinary happens to highlight his consequences. Unless there are other Shadows out there who see people as “peers” rather than “food”, ShadowChild will never have a chance at this decision again.

  37. Roose Hurro says:

    “Shadow is certainly acting like a teen there, or transitioning into adulthood or something.

    I wonder what Shadow meant by β€œperhaps you have destroyed me”, maybe by not giviing enough knowledge?”

    smjjames, I think Kef is right, that by giving him/her a moral code, Digger may have made him something neither “fish nor fowl”… so to speak.

  38. Barry says:

    Shadowlescent looks pretty menacing in that last panel. Perhaps it’s time to return to the speculation that he-she-it is still in some ways possessed by SGV.

  39. Ketira says:

    Rissa – I have that book – jacket is a bit worn, and so is the book, but it’s a first printing.

    It wasn’t McCoy who said that — it was Spock who said that in his own speech to the Planet. McCoy’s was more a bit more humorous, medical and logical all at once. He summed it up this way to Spock: “That was about every argument I’ve had with you….”

    Sorry – but I had to set the record straight there.

  40. Hactar says:

    These past few ones with the Shadowchild (still calling it that until we get a new name) have been amazing and beautiful. Comics that make me go “ohhh” and put a hand to my chest (in slight heartbreak, not heart attack) are few and far between. You’ve produced several recently. Thank you.

  41. theysabet says:

    Y’know…. past the seriousness and the angst and everything in this very moving part of the story,….. There’s still this little part of me that’s looking at Shadow and going, “That is the most definitive emo teenager in the WORLD. I mean, seriously, he’s got it all. Name, appearance, mysteriously gothic past with elements that combine birth and death, tragic sudden leap into adulthood– OH yeah.” **deep breath** “This kid needs to start a *band.*”

    Sorry. Just saying, is all.

  42. Kaleidoscope says:

    I do love the speculation about just what Digger’s influence may mean for Shadowchild’s ethical development, which may be contarary to his behavior as a demon…but what really makes this page for me is the expression on Shadowchild’s face in the last panel. The curve of the eyes makes it look slightly angry…confused and frustrated at how much more complicated digger has made its life. But it could just as easily be sadness…okay, perhaps not just as easily, but almost. It’s a beautifully ambiguous expression.

  43. BunnyRock says:

    @ Pelican… good lord that’s eloquent.

    Happy Brittany Tris, a little late i know but still, better late than never.

    I can remember when I first felt old: it was when i had to explain what a floppy disk was to my supervisors’ children (she always brings them along to the nice archaeological digs in the summer so they can go camping).

  44. slywlf says:

    Half breaking my self-promise – posting but not reading the other comments at this time – but I gotta say this one breaks my heart.

  45. Kisame says:

    Sigh, why must we lose the innocence of thinking the world is full of good? Poor shadowchild

  46. rueyeet says:

    Well, Sweetgrass Voice DID say that questions aren’t answered for free in this world. Poor Shadowchild indeed.

  47. Zelith says:

    As a contrapositive to feeling old, I had a very strange moment last week of both feeling young again and having my eyes reopened to the marvels of the world we take for granted… And looking back at that sentance it seems somewhat overblown for a discussion about a MP3 player.

    I was on vacation and took my first long distance train ride ever. Over 30 hours, and unlike cars or planes it was a much more social experiance. I was hanging out in the parlour car reading and chatting with two older couples (60s-70s) when one of them asked what an Ipod/MP3 was. She’s just bought a new car that was bragging about being Ipod/MP3 compatible. The other couple and I where all tech savy and spent a slightly furstrating but interesting half an hour explaining about Ipods, MP3s, how you get them, why they’re better then CDs.

    Normaly I’m working tech support trying to fix something broken and it’s painful… but whatching her eyes light up, watching her ‘get it’ really reminded me what an amazing thing it is. She now wants one for christmas, much to her husband’s chagrin.